Building System Performance During Earthquakes & Post-Earthquake Fire

Building System Performance During Earthquakes & Post-Earthquake Fire

Professors Tara Hutchinson, Joel Conte, and Jose Restrepo

Doctoral students Rodrigo Astroza, Michelle Chen, Hamed Ebrahimian, Steve Mintz, Elide Pantoli, and Xiang Wang


This landmark project centers upon the earthquake and post-earthquake fire testing of a five-story building built at full-scale. The building is completely furnished with nonstructural components and systems (NCSs), including a functioning passenger elevator, stairs, partition walls, cladding and balloon framing systems, piping, HVAC, ceiling, sprinklers, building contents, as well as passive and active fire systems. Using the NEES@UCSD large high performance shake table, and equipped with over 500 channels of sensors and over 80 cameras, test data generated from this project will help advance our understanding of the full-scale dynamic response and kinematic interaction of complex structural and nonstructural components and systems.

In addition, this project is investigating the potential for protecting critical NCS systems using base isolation and post-earthquake fire and life safety performance of both the structure and its NCSs has been evaluated by conducting non-thermal and live fire testing. Data from this unique experiment will be used to compare with earthquake performance predictions using available commercial and research computational modeling platforms. Findings from these efforts will be immediately translated to practice. Additional information on this project may be found at:

A collaboration between four Universities, the National Science Foundation, the California Seismic Safety Commission, the Englekirk Advisory Board, the Charles Pankow Foundation, and over 45 industry partners.